Bleacher Report catches you up on the latest news from WWE and AEW.
Bischoff Opens Up on Brief SmackDown Tenure
Eric Bischoff was back in WWE but apparently wasn't better than ever. The company announced last week that Bruce Prichard was taking over the executive director role Bischoff was given just a scant four months ago—and that Bischoff was no longer with the company at all.
In the latest episode of his 83 Weeks podcast, Bischoff discussed his tenure and disappointment about his departure.
“I was really grateful for the opportunity to work at WWE and it was an opportunity,” Bischoff said, per Pro Wrestling Sheet. “It didn’t work out the way I wanted it to work out. It clearly didn’t work out the way Vince McMahon wanted it to work out, but that happens. I’m not taking any of it personally; professionally, I’m taking a hard look at it and thinking it through."
Bischoff had stepped away from the day-to-day wrestling grind after his stint with TNA ended in 2014. He said he always viewed running SmackDown as a short-term endeavor and acknowledged he faced an uphill battle challenging the status quo.
"I didn’t come here thinking I was gonna be in for WWE for five or ten years. I looked it as a relatively short term opportunity, meaning two to three years," Bischoff said. “I didn’t think it would be quite this short term but sometimes that happens.
“When I took this job, I knew what the odds were,” Bischoff added. “I’m not surprised. I’m disappointed—not gonna lie—I am disappointed, I would have liked to have met Vince McMahon’s expectations and I would’ve liked for it to have been a longer run than it was. I’d be completely dishonest if I didn’t admit that. But at the same time, I’m not completely surprised either.”
Whatever vision Bischoff did have for SmackDown, it never appeared on the screen. While Paul Heyman has taken a more hands-on role with Raw and there have been signs of his involvement—albeit sporadic ones—SmackDown appeared to be treading water for months ahead of its Fox debut.
Prichard has long been a close confidante of McMahon, so odds are whatever Prichard has in mind going forward will be a Vince brainchild. For better or for worse.
Xavier Woods Suffers Achilles Injury in Australia
Xavier Woods confirmed he suffered an injury during a house show match in Australia on Twitter:
WWE.com's report on the injury did not offer many details, but the match between New Day and The Revival was stopped to take Woods out of the ring.
New Day is scheduled to be part of the WWE World Cup Tag Team Turmoil Match at Crown Jewel, and it's unclear if Woods' status will affect their placement in the match. Big E and Kofi Kingston could be part of the match to represent the stable.
Depending on the severity of Woods' injury, this could have some long-term booking implications. Kofi Kingston has barely addressed losing his WWE Championship to Brock Lesnar on television. The biggest hint we got that some sort of follow-up storyline is coming was Kingston smashing pancakes in his hand on last week's SmackDown.
If there was some sort of swerve or Kofi turn coming, odds are it'll be on hold until Woods returns.
Orton Keeps Dropping AEW Hints, Jericho Responds
First thing's first: Randy Orton probably isn't ever joining AEW.
That said, he's having a lot of fun dropping some hints. Orton continued his public flirtation with the competition on Instagram, posting a picture of himself looking at an "elite level" elevator with the caption "tick tock tick tock."
He also tagged co-workers The Revival, Luke Harper, Riddick Moss and Elias—along with Chris Jericho and Cody.
Jericho responded by saying "Send in a tape and some pix and I'll see what I Can do….??"
Orton signed a 10-year contract with WWE in 2010 that's set to expire next year. His public disposition has been one of a man who genuinely knows he cannot be touched, heaping praise on AEW's performers and product while also wink-winking at his own potential departure.
This could all be part of a ploy for a new contract, which seems likely given the massive amounts of cash WWE has at its disposal. But it is fun to imagine what a reinvigorated Orton could do in AEW given his relatively sleepy last couple of years in WWE's upper midcard.